Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vanilla Roasted Pears

While looking at my favorite place to find recipes, Smittenkitchen.com, I stumbled upon these roasted pears. And can I just tell you that they are such a wonderful dessert if you are watching your figure. (and even if you aren't!) They are so easy to make and would be great for a large dinner party.
This works for ripe pears and under ripe pears alike. Maybe it is better if the pears a slightly under ripe so they hold up to the baking, but I've had fine results either way. These pears would be AWESOME dolloped with whipped cream or with a serving of vanilla icecream. mmmm...hot pears and cold vanilla icecream!

Vanilla Roasted Pears
2-4 pears, depending on the serving size and amount of people
2 Tbls fresh lemon juice
2Tbls water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 Tbls brown sugar or splenda
2 Tbls unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 375. Peel and core pears, also removing the stems from the inside (you can leave some outside stems for decoration.) Squeeze lemon, add water and stir in splenda (not brown sugar, if using) and vanilla.
2. Pour this mixture over pears, coating every crevice. If using brown sugar, add on top of the pears (cut side up) after they are coated with the liquid.
3. Dot with equal pieces of  butter. Cook for 30 minutes on each side, every fifteen minutes or so baste with the liquid that runs off of the pears.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tilapia with Spinach Salad

It's nice to switch it up a bit, especially if "switching it up" means buying fish instead of chicken and beef. There's really not much else to say about this dish besides it's deliciousness...
So my favorite part about this dish is how the flavors all work together. First of all, spinach and cranberries were a match made in heaven! Secondly, and most importantly, goat cheese goes perfectly well with a light, mellow fish such as tilapia. I once saw on a show, and have made it myself, tilapia with goat cheese pucks, where both were breaded and pan fried then served on a bed of spinach. YUM!
Yesterday I found myself at Your Dekalb Farmer's Market in North Decatur and I had the most spectacular time! They had large tanks packed with live tilapia and catfish and blue crabs. BUT I didn't want to reach my hand in and grab a whole fish (they don't let you do that anyways) and there was a long line at the fish counter so I grabbed some at Publix on the way home. 

Tilapia with Spinach Salad
1-2 Tilapia filets
1/2 c flour (I used whole-wheat of course) seasoned with salt and pepper
3-4 Tbls veg oil
baby spinach
handful of walnuts (toasted) and craisins
1-2 oz goat cheese
Newman's Own Oil and Vinegar Dressing

1. Heat oil in a large skillet. Combine flour with salt and pepper on a plate. Run the filets under water and shake off excess. Coat with flour on the plate. 
2. Once the skillet it hot, cook the tilapia for about 4-5 minutes on each side (depending on the thickness). While it is cooking, mix together the salad. Break up small chunks of goat cheese on top or mix in.
3. Take out fish, sprinkle with more salt (if desired) and serve on top or along side the salad.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Winter Waldorf Salad

Ever had a craving for a really yummy salad? Well, I'm sure this salad will be the one you crave and your new favorite! It's fairly easy (especially if you have leftover chicken). So the supermarkets are now packed with pears! They are such a glorious fall treat. Here's a helpful hint on picking out pears: with any pear with a thin skin (most except Bosc) feel for a slight give, but don't bruise them. It's best to buy them a couple to a few days in advance, depending on how ripe they are in the grocery store. Secondly, since Bosc pears have a tougher skin, they wont ''give'' as much when you press on them. Also, I have found that if I wait until they do "give," they are too ripe. [Stay tuned for a  Bosc pear recipe!]
Also, my favorite salad dressing is used. Newman's Own Oil and Vinegar is so delish and its very simple.  

And can I just say something else? I LOVE fruit, especially craisins in salad because it gives you that sweet bite that is so unexpected, but OH SO GOOD! All of the different textures in this salad make it a delight to eat: crispness of apples, smoothness of pears, tender chicken, chewy and succulent cherries and craisins, and crunchy walnuts.

Winter Waldorf Salad
1 roasted or leftover chicken breast
1 peeled and diced apple
1 peeled and diced pear
handful of each: dried cherries, craisins, walnuts
little bit of Lemon Juice
Newman's Own Oil and Vinegar (or whatever dressing you like)
spinach and/or any greens you want

1. Start out by toasting the walnuts on a dry pan and set aside.
2. Chop chicken, dice the apple and pear and add to mixing bowl. Add the cherries, craisins and walnuts. 
3. Take a small piece of lemon and squeeze it over the ingredients and stir so all the fruit is evenly coated with lemon juice. Then add dressing to taste.
4. Serve over dressed greens. Makes 2-3 Servings.